FHWA approves $1-billion Kensington Expressway project

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New York Construction Report staff writer

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved the $1-billion Kensington Expressway project in Buffalo. The construction plan includes capping a section of the highway to reconnect communities and add green space.

With the federal approval, the New York State Dept. of Transportation aims to start construction by this fall, Gov. Kathy Hochul said at an event to announce the project’s advancement.

“From the very beginning, the Kensington Expressway Project has been a community-driven effort to restore the greenspace and quality of life wrongfully taken from East Buffalo with the highway’s initial construction,” Hochul said. “Today’s decision by the Federal Highway Administration allows us to move ahead on this transformational project to right the wrongs of the past and start construction later this year.

“But we are not done yet and will continue to rely on the project’s most important architects — local community members — to share their vision and partner with us as we study opportunities to reconnect the East Buffalo community in a way that makes residents proud.”

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issuance of a “Finding of No Significant Impact” comes after a detailed environmental assessment that extensively studied the social, economic, and environmental effects of the project; and outlined measures to mitigate any adverse effects.

Issuance of the “Finding of No Significant Impact,” or FONSI, by the FHWA concludes the federal environmental assessment review.

A new Kensington Outreach Center, located at 630 Humboldt Pkwy., is now officially open in East Buffalo to further opportunities for public engagement as the project moves from the planning phase to the construction phase. Its hours of operation are from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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